"A lot of people regret not selling [their businesses] before the great recession of 2008," said certified financial planner Bob Klosterman, founder of White Oaks Wealth Advisors.
All families are unique, with their own dynamics and dysfunctions, and there is no ideal fix to optimize the management of a family business and protect the family's wealth. Business owners typically need the full array of professional services, from lawyers and certified public accountants to financial advisors, estate planners and family psychologists.
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However, it's not the tax strategies or the trust vehicles, the investment programs or the estate-planning tricks that matter most for owners and members of a family business; rather, it's the "soft" stuff, like communication, emotional honesty and a willingness to consider the perspectives of all family members.
"There can be multiple good choices for families owning businesses," said Judy Green, president of the Family Firm Institute, which conducts education for owners of family businesses. "It's about how families will agree to come to decisions. It's a process, and being willing to engage in the process is the biggest thing," she explained.